Monday, December 11th, 2017

Pay No Attention to That Writer Behind the Curtain!

One of my favorite speakers at the 2013 SCBWI winter conference was Mo Willems. No surprise, he’s also one of my favorite writers, and illustrators. Among the many witty, wise and irreverent pieces of writing advice he shared was this: “Be Invisible.” Hard to believe, but apparently, Mo once received a review that spoke of […]

A Lesson in Showing Versus Telling

Last week I started teaching the spring course in Childrens Literature for grad students in the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature at Stony Brook Southampton. We spent the first class discussing the many formats of children’s lit, and began our picture book study (we’ll move on to chapter books, middle grade and YA fiction […]

National Picture Book Month

November is National Picture Book Month, and I thought I would contribute to the celebration with a list of ten of my favorite picture books. This is by no means a definitive list – I have hundreds of favorites! – but for our family, these books have stood the test of time and continue to […]

Compression: Getting Down to the Essence

The second word in Jane Yolen’s list of ‘ten words every picture book author must know’ is Compression.  It’s a good word, and can be defined as “the reduction of the volume or mass of something by applying pressure” (an apt description of the editing process!)  Among the words I might choose to describe the […]

Show, Don’t Tell – or, a Tribute to Mo Willems

Some picture books are narrative all the way through with no dialogue, and some are only dialogue with no other narrative, as in Mo Willems’ wonderful “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” series.  Most often, they are a blend of both. Generally speaking, dialogue should make up at least one-third of a picture book, […]